‘Nother New Look

Hey folks, welcome to the unveiling of my new gothic look for girlbandgeek.com. What do you think. Yes, I know it looks like “Girlbandgeef” — the masthead still needs work. But I think it’s good enough for now, and I can make incremental improvements as we go.

Just got back from the new Star Trek movie — my son’s pick for celebrating his 12th birthday. It was a pretty darned good movie. Many tips of the hat to folks like me who grew up watching the original series, but the boys all enjoyed the good story and plenty of action. Worth checking out.

Sorting My Online Empire

I’m trying to consolidate the number of sites upon which my web presence is sprawled out. I have danieloxenhandler.com which will be my web developer url, and has a theme I designed which I like.

I have this site, the girlbandgeek.com/blog url which will be my personal blog/web site for things not related to web design or work. I think I will stop adding to my blogger site girlbandgeek.blogspot.com, and direct people to girlbandgeek.com instead.

Finally, for anything related to network engineering or security I can just use LinkedIn. I need to maintain a presence there anyway, and I can do everything I need related to marketing my job skills with that tool.

Sound like a plan? Next I have to come up with a new look for girlbandgeek.com. Have no ideas right now, except I’m thinking about black background with white letters. Maybe something with skulls (just popped into my mind)?

Awesome WordPress Tutorial

I’ve been going through an excellent WordPress tutorial which I found here. The author “Small Potato” takes you through building the index.php file from the ground up so you really get a sense of how it all works. We haven’t done any styling at all yet. This is what my test blog looks like so far:

Blog Screen Shot

Blog Screen Shot

Another cool thing I am using for this tutorial is XAMPP – which is as implementation of Apache/MySQL/PHP for windows. It allows you to, for instance, install WordPress locally on your machine. Obviously very handy for playing around with your blog design quickly, and without having to leave your half-baked projects up on the web for all to see.

Progress Report

I am a little frustrated with my (lack of) progress in my path as a web designer. I am finding it challenging on a number of levels – creatively and technically. Because I feel a little blocked, I am also frittering away the time I should be actually working on a site. But still, I am having my small successes.

I have been tinkering with the design of danieloxenhandler.com. I think I figured out how to have a static home page for the site, and still have blog pages that are accessible from the sidebar menu. (Basically I followed this method.) I am still using the classic theme which is pretty random looking. But hey, at least that’s some progress.

Anyways, I guess I’ll just go back to studying the WP Codex and trying to understand how this glorious beast is all put together.  I need to find that page I found earlier in the Codex which linked to the “starter” themes which were adapted to modifying to fit one’s needs.

New Site: DanielOxenhandler.com

I decided to register danieloxenhandler.com the other day for my job search and web design business. I am fond of the girlbandgeek handle and domain name, but it probably doesn’t do much for my employment in the corporate world. I plopped a default wordpress install down in the main folder. I want to explore the idea of using WP as CMS – by tweaking my own site, adding static pages as well as blog updates.

I just added the domain into my cPanel, so it’s not even reachable by url. Probably by tomorrow. Okay, so what it needs is:

Winds of Change

I learned on Thursday that my position at Sprint has been axed. It’s been a great place to work for the last 10 (!) years, but it appears the time for new opportunities has come. I will certainly miss all the wonderful people I worked with, as well as the excitement of working with cutting edge (well, mostly) technology.

Winds of Change - Skyline Drive

Winds of Change - Skyline Drive

I’ll also miss my daily trips along Skyline Drive, with its spectacular views, weather and ever-changing driving conditions. On the other hand, I won’t miss the three hours of daily lost time, the gas expenses and my contribution to global warming.

I still have two weeks of work. After that I’ll have around 6 months of severance pay – thank God! I can begin looking for employment closer to home, as well as learning more about web design, of course. And I hope to some side projects for actual money in the next months, too.

Any suggestions for how to begin a job search in these troubled times?

A Random Picture

Here’s a picture taken with my new Palm Centro. It takes pretty decent pictures, especially considering my last phone lacked a camera entirely.

Skyline Drive Sunset

Skyline Drive Sunset

Anyway, it’s a typical Tuesday night. I finished up some web site mock ups and sent a link to “the client”. I have no idea what they’ll think.

I am ready to learn some more about WordPress. I have a lot of ideas how that could work for folks – like my cousin for starters. So much to do, so little time!

Plugging Away

I’ve spent the last 20 minutes or so studying the WordPress Codex, but I’m starting to lose my ability to focus. I didn’t get going on my web design study early enough. I had to order bluetooth headsets for my wife and I, answer some email and touch base with a few people on Facebook. Consequently I was too tired to make very much headway on my whole web developer project.

Tomorrow I’m talking to a women I know from work many years ago who has her own business consulting with companies on their online strategy. That should be interesting. I have discovered that there are lots of pieces to getting people on the web beyond just designing a web site. If people have a product, or a message, or something to sell — there’s a lot you can do to get more traffic. I’m interested in those aspects of the business, too. And it could be an additional asset I could bring to the table with potential clients.

Anyway folks, I think that’s a wrap. See you on the other side.

Crossroads

I’m feeling at a scattered with my web business plan. I have so many areas where I could be working, and I don’t know which one, or which ones to focus on. I have several web sites that I could be either creating, or improving. I have two major technology areas (WordPress and Javascript) that I really want to learn. I keep thinking about creating a cohesive online campaign to market Noelle’s book, and that howto book I saw recommended on Amazon.

I guess I will just have to do some prioritization around all these areas. I do have a strong instinct that I need to be spending close to half my time actually designing things, whether in actual html/css or using a drawing program, since this is in some way the master skill to which all the other skills must be subservient. That is to say, if my web sites look like crap, I will not be able to sustain business, even if I know a lot of fancy javascript and CMS stuff.

Adding A Theme

So, in the spirit of learning by doing, I grabbed a theme and slapped it on this here blog. I went to the WordPress themes page and downloaded the popular and highly configurable Atahualpa theme. It seems to have a big user community, and lots of options.

What do you think of it? In it’s default state, it’s kind of funky. I actually like the really clean, boring default theme more. But this is more about understanding the options that are available, and how to access them, rather than having a clean, yet boring blog. Since this blog is really just my own notes and not of interest to anyone, except perhaps spammers, at the moment.